It's going to be a wild night.
SOMArts is unrolling the biennial 100 Performances for the Hole. The Hole is a once-upon a time mechanic's pit, newly transformed art-stage. Third Strike is what they're calling it. Like the legendary blasts of the Ramones, the performers in Third Strike have one restriction: their pieces must come in under two minutes each. The pieces are separated by a minute. Expect a high-energy parade of bombast and spectacle.
Last time Kathryn Williamson lit a firework between her legs while in a shoulder-stand. In 2008 Jennifer Locke withdrew blood from one arm and injected it into the other. Locke is a featured artist this time around, making a commissioned performance for the Hole.
The restrictions of the Hole give rise to contrary interpretations. Jenn Kolmel is interpreting the Hole like an army foxhole. Ernesto Sopprani is inviting the audience to fill the space in an interactive and improvised tableau. And Bryan and Vita Hewitt promise a 7-month old yoga instructor for "Ultimate Turbo Workout with Rhiannon."
The production is a stage-manager's nightmare dreamed up by SOMArts director Justin Hoover. In the constant drum of action, understatement can be effective too. I first heard about the Hole in 2008 when sunglass-clad Tom Marioni and Sharon Grace pulled a convertible Lexus over the Hole, lowering the top just long enough to flaunt their rad jazz tunes, and drove out the second door.
Lauren Marsden photographed by Nadim Sabella, 2009.
The Hole is like a sunken stage, liminal while indecorous. It lends itself to art that is loud, bright, and fast. One of the artists performing in Third Strike, Jennifer Gwirtz (who is performing with Lisa Claybaugh), first performed in SOMArts in 1996 when she says the building was a "cavernous raw space" with random, unexplained "architectural details." Randomness is status quo for Gwirtz: "I've performed in more than my share of cellars, offices, galleries, bathtubs, a laundromat, a car, and for the surveillance cameras above ATMs."
Not many of the artists seem fazed by the unpredictable set-up. Come curious.
Third Strike: 100 Performances in the Hole is a one night event -- TONIGHT, Saturday, December 10, 2011 from 5:58pm until midnight at SOMArts. For more information visit somarts.org.
Images courtesy SOMArts.